Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Stylish Mid-Century Shopping Malls

Written by Christopher • June 5th, 2015
Stylish Mid-Century Shopping Malls

Chris-Town Shopping Plaza, Arizona circa 1962

I’ve always been a sucker for shopping malls, even as a kid I thoroughly enjoyed going to the mall with the folks. Nowadays most shoppings centers are just loud, generic and boring. Where’s that sense of soul and character? Well fear not, Ultra Swank takes you back to take a look at some of the mid-century gems.

Every mid-century mall needs three things; a water feature, the bigger the better (throw in fountain or “wonderfall” and you are king of the hill), plenty of plants and greeneries, and last, but not least, funky color themes and shapes (did anyone say Googie?).

Going to the mall back then was an experience on its own. A destination. A place to gather and where memories were made. A place away from home. Somewhere were all your needs and shopping fantasies could be fulfilled. Nowadays, well not much so, unless you count the mindless consumerism part of the equation. I can’t think of any modern mall that gave me the same endorphins as the ones I grew up with did.

All of the malls pictured here have either been transformed until something completely different or demolished. Progress? I fail to see that. But then again, I am a nostalgic at heart.

Which is your favorite mall of the past?

Above: Escondido Village, California

Above: Winter Park Mall, Florida

Above: Seminole Mall, Flordia

Above: Palm Beach Shopping Mall, Florida (Left) and Brookfield Square Mall’s Wonderfall, Wisconsin (Right)

Above: Moorestown Mall, New Jersey circa 1961

Above: Hollywood Mall, Florida circa 1970s

Above: Cherry Hill Mall, New Jersey circa 1961

Above: Cherry Hill Mall, New Jersey circa 1961

Above: Colonial Plaza, Florida

Above: Colonial Plaza, Florida

Above: Chris-Town Shopping Plaza, Arizona circa 1962

Above: Southdale Center, Minnesota

Christopher

Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

Find out more about Christopher

  • Haven’t read one of these in years! Thanks!

  • wunderbar21

    My heart just fluttered a bit looking at these photos and remembering all the memories of the mall of my youth: beautiful fountains, lush indoor gardens, and sunken conversation pits. Ahhh. . . . sigh.

  • Sam

    One of the coolest mid-century malls was Bergen Mall in Paramus NJ. Even though it still stands today, all the cool MCM touches are gone. It is now a discount mall

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